Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the most dangerous gases that commonly infiltrates homes. Even in small concentrations, it’s able to cause many serious health problems and in some cases can still be fatal. Long term exposure to significant levels of CO can also be fatal. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are strong migraines, confusion, nausea and disorientation. Knowing all this, it’s important to take preventative steps to limit any CO exposure.
How is CO Formed
To learn how to prevent CO accumulation in your home, you first need to learn how it’s made. When molecules called hydrocarbons, better known to you as fuel are burned, they can produce CO instead of carbon dioxide if there is not enough oxygen available. Any appliance or piece of equipment in your home that burns fuel can potentially generate CO. The most common things that burn oil or gas are:
How to Reduce CO Exposure
The oxygen level during operation is dependant on proper functioning and a good operating environment. This means that proper maintenance and regular inspection of appliances is important to prevent and spot malfunctions before they can affect combustion.
Secondly, only operate these pieces of equipment when good ventilation is available, ideally outside in the open. Many CO incidents take place in enclosed spaces like garages or from a faulty home ventilation system.
Finally, be aware that preventing CO on your own does not guarantee safety. CO can seep in from neighbors or nearby construction. Install and maintain CO detectors so that you can be alerted if CO levels rise to dangerous amounts. If the detector sounds an alarm, get outside to an open space as soon as possible before calling in the fire department.
The safety of your home should always be a priority. If you would like a professional opinion on the safety of your Northwest Arkansas home and its HVAC system, please contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about CO exposure and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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